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John Luther Adams

Inuksuit (2009)
Taiga Press (BMI)
Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
Year Composed
1 Hour 20 Minutes
Programme Note
John Luther Adams Inuksuit (2009)
My music has always been rooted in the earth. Over the past thirty-five years I've composed many works inspired by the outdoors, but heard indoors. Recently, after hearing Strange and Sacred Noise performed in the Anza-Borrego desert, the New England woods, and the tundra of the Alaska Range, I've wanted to create a large-scale work conceived specifically to be performed outside.

Inuksuit is inspired by the stone sentinels constructed over the centuries by the Inuit in the windswept expanses of the Arctic. The word "Inuksuit" translates literally: "to act in the capacity of the human". This work is haunted by the vision of the melting of the polar ice, the rising of the seas, and what may remain of humanity's presence after the waters recede.

Inuksuit is a concert-length work for percussion, in which the performers are widely dispersed and move throughout a large, open area. The listeners, too, may move around freely and discover their own individual listening points. This work is intended to expand our awareness of the never-ending music of the world in which we live, transforming seemingly empty space into more fully experienced place.

Each performance of Inuksuit is different, determined by the size of the ensemble, the specific instruments chosen, and by the topology and vegetation of the site. There is no master score. Rather, this folio contains a collection of musical materials and possibilities for musicians to use in creating a unique realisation of the work.

Inuksuit invites exploration and discovery of the relationship between the music and the site, as well as the musicians' interactions with both. The musicians are encouraged to consider carefully the selection of instruments, the distribution of performers, and the acoustical properties of the performance site.

The experience of preparing, performing and hearing Inuksuit may raise larger questions: What does it mean to act creatively with and within our environment? Can we listen and hear more deeply the field of sound all around us? How does where we are define what we do and, ultimately, who we are? And how do we understand the brevity of our human presence in the immensity of geologic time?

John Luther Adams

  • 08 JUL 2018
    Spring Park, Fort Collins, CO
    Project Youth and Chamber Music
    Amy Garapic, conductor
  • 01 JUL 2018
    Katonah, NY
    Doug Perkins, conductor
  • 05 MAY 2018
    Bloomington, USA
    Bloomington Percussion Ensemble
  • 27 APR 2018
    SUNY Potsdam Campus, Potsdam, NY
    Crane School of Music
  • 22 APR 2018
    Shelby Farms Park, Memphis, USA
    ADHOC Ensemble
    William Shaltis, conductor
  • 24 MAR 2018
    Stonehenge Monument, UTPB Campus, Odessa, TX
    Odessa College
    Tyson Voigt, conductor
  • 23 MAR 2018
    Stonehenge Monument, Odessa, USA
    Tyson Voigt, percussion
  • 27 JAN 2018
    San Diego, California, US
    ADHOC Ensemble
  • 27 JAN 2018
    San Diego, CA
    San Diego Symphony
    Steve Schick, conductor
  • 23 SEP 2017
    Schuylkill Banks Park, Philadelphia, PA
    Orchestra 2001
  • 29 JUL 2017
    San Francisco, CA
    Doug Perkins, conductor
  • 23 APR 2017
    Bartram's Garden, Philadelphia, PA
    Orchestra 2001
  • 02 APR 2017
    The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA
    Orchestra 2001
  • 12 NOV 2016
    Valparaíso, Chile
    Grupo Percusión Valparaíso
  • 25 SEP 2016
    Syracuse, New York, United States of America
    Syracuse University
  • 11 SEP 2016
    TransArt Festival
    Ortisei, Italy
    conTakt percussion group
    Douglas Perkins, conductor
  • 10 SEP 2016
    Storrs, Connecticut, United States of America
    UCONN Percussion Ensemble
  • 27 AUG 2016
    New York, New York, United States of America
    Tigue, Mantra Percussion, Iktus Percussion Ensemble et al, Sandbox Percussion, Loop 2.4.3, Palladium Percussion and Students from: Stony Brook Queens College, NYU, Mantra Youth Percussion
    Amy Garapic, conductor
  • 06 AUG 2016
    Bravo! Vail Music Festival | Aspen Music Festival
    Maloit Park, Minturn, Colorado, United States of America
    66 percussionists

    Other Dates:
    7 August - Aspen, Colorado, United States of America
  • 23 JUL 2016
    Fishtail, Montana, United States of America
    Billings Symphony
    Excelsis Percussion Quartet; Douglas Perkins, conductor
  • 25 JUN 2016
    Metamorphosis Festival
    Athens, Greece
    Douglas Perkins and Dimitris Desyllas, Percussion
  • 29 MAY 2016
    KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen
    Hannover, Germany
    Hannover Percussionists
    Andreas Boettger, conductor
  • 20 JUN 2015
    Holland Festival
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Slagwerk Den Haag
  • 01 JAN 2015
    Luk Keng Tsuen, Hong Kong
    Hong Kong New Music Ensemble
  • 28 FEB 2014
    Sound Unbound
    Mildura, Australia
    London Symphony Orchestra & BBC Symphony Orchestra
    Speak Percussion; Eugene Ughetti, conductor

    Other Dates:
    31 October 2016 - London, United Kingdom
    1 November 2016 - London, United Kingdom
  • 20 FEB 2011
    New York, New York, United States of America
    Eighth Blackbird, Newspeak, Argento Chamber Ensemble, Red Fish Blue Fish

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